Monday, March 27, 2006

My Jopo Mobil

My Jopo
Originally uploaded by Kriton Visuals.

Another (and arguably much better than getting your sneakers dirty) thing about the spring is that it becomes possible to ride a bicycle again. Bicycle, in my opinion, is by far the best vehicle in the city, it's an healthy and ecological option, it costs nothing riding your bike and you are not tied to the timetables of public traffic and so on. However, it is not only about how convenient cycling is, but you need to also keep an eye on the bike you are riding. In modern world life is all about moving from place A to place B. For this reason I do believe that your vehicle is ultimately an extension of yourself. So basically what you are riding tells something about your personality.

So, I have decided to write something about my trusty old Jopo -bicycle and what it is about. Everyone in Finland knows Jopo -bikes because between 1964 and 1975 Helkama company manufactured over 250 000 of them in their factory in Hanko in southwestern Finland. They also manufactured fridges and other stuff but Jopos were always their #1 product. The name Jopo stands for an abbreviation of 'JOkaisen POlkupyörä', meaning 'EVerybody's BIcycle', and in a this size country basically everyone and their grandmother had one of those. The design of the bike stayed almost the same until the manufacturing stopped in 1970s and today the classic Jopo design is considered a modern Finnish industrial design classic. 

Of course there were several models besides the standard one, there was an official orange mailman version used by all the mailmen of The Post of Finland, there was Jopo Rodeo, an extra rare chopper-style model, small kiddie-size Jopo called 'Joponen' and larger-sized Iso Jopo, a foldable Jopo Mobil, a Jopomatic with gears and a super rare early bmx-style Jopo Cross. They even had sports training model for the gym

The main selling point was that they were affordable, good quality, durable and good to ride. Then of course Jopos became somewhat trendy some years ago and soon after that Helkama company who now owned the brand name released a modernized new Jopo, which, just like the new VW Beetle, sucks. On the other hand it has never been difficult to find an old Jopo in Finland even if people are nowadays trying to ask for really outrageous prices for them.

Anyhow, riding my Jopo (pictured above), which is by the way the foldable Jopo Mobil with two secret Torpedo Automatic gears hidden in the pedal system, is of course a nostalgic retro-thing from my childhood when I had a green kiddie-sized Joponen (pic below) and Jopos were generally all over the place.

But it is also about paying respect to something particularly Finnish, a reminder of the industrial past and tradition which does not really exist anymore. And I still think that Jopos look cool.

A small update here: my pink-ish Jopo pictured above is actually Jopo Mobil from 1974. Someone is auctioning an excatly similar one, altough in much better condition than mine, in -auction site for a crazy price; there. 


Kriton Music said...

yep, your Jopo-bike is foldable all right. and i remember it folding on and off after a night in a bar and a certain Talib Kweli show last fall... bikes are cool, but they can also kill you. come to think of it that's quite gangsta dude.

Kriton Music said...

BTW: This new skin looks SO MUCH COOLER than the previous. KRITON REPPRASENNNNT!

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interflug said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
interflug said...

Jussi congratulations! here above my post, is a spam post.
this means you're famous.
Jopo is really great. I wish I could have one. Or should I introduce Graziella to Finland?

d64 said...

Just some details.. Jopo to my knowledge means "JokaiSEN polkupyörä" which means "everyone's bike", and Hanko is in southwestern Finland.

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